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Call for Submissions, Issue 104 The Art Film

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: CINEACTION 104 THE ART FILM
Issue 104 Call for Submissions: The Art Film
Queries and submissions to fjacob@yorku.ca and rlippe@yorku.ca.
Deadline Oct. 15, 2024

In the last few years, a revival of the art film is evident in films like Glazer’s Zone of Interest, Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves, Wenders’ A Perfect Day, Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, and even, one might argue, last year’s blockbusters, Gerwig’s Barbie and Nolan’s Oppenheimer. The resurgence of the art film is significant as it extends beyond commercialism, considering authorship, style, a personal voice, often challenging the audience to participate and engage in an active way. It also attests to a cinema that still attracts an audience willing and eager to experience a screening in a theatre.

In the next issue, we welcome submissions on the subject of the art film, past and present, considering the permeable boundaries between art and entertainment.

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

Symposium: Film Festivals: Borders, Identities, Solidarities
University Ca’ Foscari of Venice
November 4–6, 2024

This symposium aims to explore how the issues of borders, identities and solidarities have been tackled by and through film festivals. As a repetitive practice happening in regular intervals and at the same place, film festivals operate as ‘places of memory’ of a particular kind (Nora, 1984 [1997]). As such, they provide an institutional framework for the cultural memories they preserve and produce through their programmes. By the default of cultural memory creation (Assmann, 1995), their influence becomes long-term and wide encompassing, moving far beyond from their actual time and place. In addition, thanks to the engagement of diverse festival actors (journalists, critics, industry representatives, politicians, etc.) the narratives that they create reach diverse categories of society, not limited to those present at the screening. The influence created in such a way becomes especially important in the times of political and military conflicts and social turbulences, when not only various kinds of liberties, but also people’s lives, can be threatened. With this in mind, this symposium aims to bring together scholars working on diverse aspects of film festival studies to discuss interrelations between film festivals and the questions of borders, identities and solidarities. In the current context of political and social upheavals, and social movements for civil rights, the symposium will explore the capacity of film festivals to operate not simply as spaces for cinematic representation related to borders and identities, but how they have (or may become) vehicles for forging solidarities, past, present and future.

We welcome submissions in the following (non-exhaustive) topic areas:

– Film festivals and political propaganda
– Film festivals as places for expression of solidarity
– Film festivals, cultural memory and national identity
– Film festivals and gender identity
– Definitions of film festivals’ identity
– Borderland film festivals
– Borders and boundaries in film festival programmes

Submissions may be individual or for panels of three papers. We are inviting proposals from participants from diverse ranges of career levels, from doctoral students to established scholars.

Please submit your proposals – 250-word abstracts for 20-minute presentations – to cba.trieste.symposium@gmail.com by July 5, 2024. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by August 15, 2024.

The symposium is organized by Dr Dunja Jelenkovic and Prof. Marco Dalla Gassa in the framework of the project CBA TRIESTE (The Cinematic Battle for the Adriatic: Films, Frontiers, and the Trieste Crisis) which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 101020692 (MSCA-IF-EF).

For any inquiries, please contact dunja.jelenkovic@unive.it (please put “CBA TRIESTE Symposium“ as the email subject).

 

CFP: Performance and Experience: A Collection of Essays on Acting by Non-Actors in the Cinema
Proposed by Catherine Russell

Actors without training who play characters in fiction films are usually referred to as non-professionals or non-actors and have come to proliferate in independent cinema and “global art cinema.” Little scholarly work has been devoted to this phenomenon, but the study of non-professional acting can be a rich avenue of investigation into the role of the body in film aesthetics and the human interactions that underpin film production. Beyond neorealism, it can help us understand the role of experience in filmmaking, and the power dynamics implicit in the situation of filmmaking. Walter Benjamin understood film performance as a primal encounter between the human body and the technology of cinema, and thus as an allegory for the people-machine encounter that has subsequently evolved into the digitization of everyday life.

Non-professional acting marks multiple borderlines between fiction film and documentary and between film and the performance arts including dance, music, circus, sports and rodeo. Non-professional acting is a means of giving drama an ethnographic aspect; and also a means of bringing ethnography into the realm of speculation and fiction. Non-professional acting flags the critical question of film labour, not only as an issue of compensation and workplace protection, but equally as an issue of aesthetics and anti-corporate, anti-celebrity being.

The legacy of neorealism established the realist aesthetics of these films, and the discourse of liberal humanism that underpins the discourse around casting and performance style as well. Robert Bresson referred to his non-professional performers as “models” and, like Andre Bazin, felt that they were only useful for one performance. More recently, directors have adopted a more humane and collaborative attitude toward the people cast in their films who are not (yet) movie stars. Sean Baker refers to his actors as “first timers,” leaving a space for them to pursue an acting career should they choose to do so. Others, such as Zacharias Kunuk, work in collaboration with a specific community who perform in his films.

While film acting has received a great deal of scholarly attention, the bulk of this work has been devoted to star studies, and the performances of well-known actors. Some work on film labour has begun to address issues of non-professional film performance, and in 2024, two monographs on the topic were published by Catherine O’Rawe (The Non-Professional Actor (Bloomsbury) and Miguel Gaggiotti Nonprofessional Film Performance (Palgrave-MacMillan), laying the groundwork for more considered discussion of the aesthetics, politics and effects of non-professional film performance. While the most innovative filmmaking defies boundaries between fiction, documentary, experimental and essayistic modalities, this collection will emphasize the roles of untrained actors in dramatic fiction, looking at actors performing characters who are not necessarily “themselves,” no matter how closely aligned their characters and themselves may be.

In 2017 Film at Lincoln Centre programmed a series of films featuring non-professional actors. While it is by no means an exhaustive list of all the relevant films, it may be a good starting point to consider the scope of the topic. https://www.filmlinc.org/daily/the-non-actor-a-historical-survey-spanning-over-40-films-begins-november-24/

Proposals for films and performers who are women, Black, Indigenous or racialized, or from the Global South are especially welcome, although all proposals will be considered.

Possible approaches to the topic of non-professional film performance include:
1. Discussion of the casting and aftermath of individuals cast in fiction films.
2. Close analysis of performances, including “amalgams” of professional and non-
professional.
3. Relationships between directors and non-professional actors
4. Contracts, legal documents and other labour arrangements
5. Non-professional actors and digital cultures
6. Reality television
7. Ethical issues raised in specific productions
8. Dramatic fiction in amateur filmmaking
9. Dramatic fiction in visual anthropology
10. Philosophical effects of non-professional performance
11. Performance studies and non-professional film acting
12. Non-professional acting and the legacy of neorealism
13. An interview with a director about their work with non-professional actors
14. An interview with a performer in a fiction film who can be considered “non-professional.”

Proposals should be 300 words, accompanied by a short bio and a bibliography.

Please send to katie.russell@concordia.ca by July 15

I have provisional interest from Routledge for a publication. Translation of previously published essays or interviews will also be considered. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for additional information. If all goes well, final essays will be expected in Summer 2025.

 

CFP: The Neutral Graduate Journal – “INHERITANCE”
*DEADLINE EXTENDED*

The Neutral is a peer-reviewed media studies journal based out of the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. The Neutral is committed to a diversity of disciplinary approaches and media objects of study. It is published online at: www.theneutraljournal.com

For its fourth issue, The Neutral is soliciting contributions for ‘Inheritance‘.

“writing philosophy is for me finding a language in which I understand philosophy to be inherited, which means telling my autobiography in such a way as to find the conditions of that language.”

Stanley Cavell, A Pitch of Philosophy

“But as for me, who am I (following)?”

Jacques Derrida, The Animal That I Therefore Am

Inheritance is always a live concern in our work: in who and what we choose to inherit, or feel we cannot but inherit, or feel we must struggle to disinherit despite their proximity to us, or not realize we have inherited because of that proximity.Jacques Derrida put this problem at its most foundational, asking “But as for me, who am I (following)?”, tying our very sense of ourselves to those who we come after. Christina Sharpe, in her configuration of The Wake, highlights the insistence of “the past that is not past” as it “reappears, always, to rupture the present.” We live in the long afterlife of slavery and the continued re-entrenchments of colonialism, misogyny, homophobia, anti-blackness, and transphobia, which force inheritances on us while also highlighting the essential inheritances we do not have access to by way of genocide, epidemic, and crisis. For this issue of The Neutral, we invite contributors to take up the theme of inheritance in all its myriad configurations. In doing so, participants are encouraged to consider and confront the ways that we rely on who and what came before us, and how we live out those inheritances in our work through citation, inspiration, or focus.

For inspiration in cinema studies, we may look to the work of Jane Gaines and Monica Dall’asta, which demonstrates how evoking the image of women in early cinema requires inheriting the signs and traces they left through their labour. Or we could look to Tom Gunning, who, in inheriting cinema’s “forgotten futures,” finds possibilities for imagining new futures for cinema today. Stanley Cavell configured his theory of genre precisely as a problem of inheritance, “the members of a genre share the inheritance of certain conditions, procedures and subjects and goals of composition… something I think of as bearing the responsibility of the inheritance.”

In light of this, we seek submissions that investigate both the historicity of the media we study as well as our own historical position and what it means to bear responsibility for our inheritances. What keeps us returning to and drawing from certain thinkers, certain traditions, certain films? How do we take up the inheritances of those we are indebted to? What is at stake when we make our inheritances explicit and thus bring ourselves into our work? What does it mean to be indebted to that which we want to disavow, but feel we cannot?

In the simplest terms, for this issue we seek work that takes every citation seriously. How does the act of looking backward help us to look forward?

Please submit completed essays between 5000-7000 words in length, including endnotes and citations as a Word document in Chicago style to theneutralcinemajournal@gmail.com with the subject line “Inheritance Submission” and with your name and affiliation included in the body of the email by July 19, 2024.

 

Synoptique is soliciting proposals for book reviews for our upcoming issue 11.1, which is a special issue with the topic “Teaching Media Archives.” We invite reviewers to propose reviews for both the themed and general review sections. If you are interested in writing a review for this issue, please contact book.reviews@synoptique.ca with a short proposal (maximum 250 words) outlining the title, author, and publication information for your proposed book as well as your qualifications for reviewing it.

We are particularly interested in receiving proposals for the following books:

  • Accidental Archivism: Shaping Cinema’s Futures with Remnants of the Past, edited by Vinzenz Hediger and Stefanie Shulte Strathaus. Meson Press, 2023. Online.
  • Archival Film Curatorship: Early and Silent Cinema from Analog to Digital, by Grazia Ingravalle. Amsterdam University Press, 2023. 240 pages.
  • Bootlegging the Airwaves: Alternative Histories of Radio and Television Distribution, by Eleanor Patterson. University of Illinois Press, 2024. 208 pages.
  • Le cinéma dans l’oeil du collectionneur, edited by André Habib, Louis Pelletier, and Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan. University of Montreal Press, 2023. 344 pages.
  • The Documentary Filmmaker’s Intuition: Creating Ethical and Impactful Non-fiction Films, by Shannon Walsh. Routledge, 2023. 256 pages.
  • Exploring Past Images in a Digital Age: Reinventing the Archive, edited by Nezih Erdogan and Ebru Kayaalp. Amsterdam University Press, 2023. 258 pages.
  • How Film Histories Were Made: Materials, Methods, Discourses, edited by Malte Hagener and Yvonne Zimmermann. Amsterdam University Press, 2023. 530 pages.
  • Incomplete: The Feminist Possibilities of the Unfinished Film, edited by Alix Beeston and Stefan Solomon. University of California Press, 2023. 374 pages.
  • Physical Characteristics of Early Films as Aids to Identification, by Camille Blot-Wellens. Indiana University Press, 2022. 336 pages.
  • Recollecting Lotte Eisner: Cinema, Exile, and the Archive, by Naomi DeCelles. University of California Press, 2022. 238 pages.
  • Reel Change: A History of British Cinema from the Projection Box, by Richard Wallace and Jon Burrows. John Libbey Publishing, 2022. 256 pages.
  • Sustainable Resilience in Women’s Film and Video Organizations, by Rosanna Maule. Routledge, 2023. 264 pages.
  • Tales from the Vaults: Film Technology over the Years and across Continents, edited by Louis Pelletier and Rachael Stoeltje. International Federation of Film Archives, 2023. 342 pages.
  • Teaching Through the Archives: Text, Collaborations, and Activism, edited by Tarez Samra Graban and Wendy Hayden. Southern Illinois University Press, 2022. 354 pages.

We will also consider proposals for other recent scholarly books related to the discipline of Film and Media Studies, so long as they have not been reviewed in a previous issue of Synoptique. Proposals are due no later than Friday, April 26 and should be sent to book.reviews@synoptique.ca.

We accept submissions in both English and French. Final reviews must conform to the specifications outlined in our Submission Guidelines.

Jared Aronoff and Thomas Gow
Co-Editors-in-Chief

Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies
www.synoptique.ca

 

CFP: The Power of Horror Compels You: Exploring Historic and Modern Iterations of Horror

Jack Halberstam argued of Bram Stoker’s seminal horror text that “Dracula is otherness itself.”In doing so, he contextualized the novel’s configuration of the period’s social anxieties toward sexuality, modernity, and antisemitism through the vampire figure. Further, Halberstam suggests that “Dracula is indeed not simply a monster, but a technology of monstrosity,” encompassing a perspective of the horror genre which recognizes its fundamental capacity to express anxieties and fears about the contemporary world.

Written eight decades before Dracula, Frankenstein often earns Mary Shelley the title “the mother of science fiction.” At the same time, this novel also converges around conventions of Gothic fiction and horror to express anxieties about modern technology and science and its relationship to the human, concepts which remain integral to contemporary examples of the genre across mediums.

When writing about modern horror Mikal Gaines reflects how the genre has largely evolved beyond its historical depictions of Black and BIPOC individuals as casualties or monsters to the driving force of the story. Gaines addresses how racism in Jordan Peele’s Get Out functions as the monster, and narrativizes the horror of racialization. Per Gaines’ argument, Peele draws on the tradition in the horror genre of complicating perspectives on race or class, as many argue George Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead film did.

The standards of monstrosity of a particular era manifest in its films, television series, novels, games, and other materials in or adjacent to the horror genre. The definition of horror or monstrousness changes continuously according to the evolution of culture and societal norms and as generic themes and modes of horror enter into the broader cultural consciousness. This call for papers seeks articles that explore what contemporary horror deems monstrous, in what ways, and how this presentation has changed over time. We hope to present an interdisciplinary exploration of how the horror genre has influenced aspects of contemporary culture, including its narratives across media forms and beyond media.

Possible topics for exploration include but are not limited to:

  • A close reading of modern (2010 and later) horror novels, films, television series, or games that critically analyze their relationship to modernity
  • The evolution of an archetype: how have depictions of original horror icons (the vampire, the zombie, Frankenstein, etc.) changed over time? How have they been typified, particularly in their more modern iterations?
  • The transition of depictions of horror icons across media – how have depictions of, for example, zombies, changed across media, such as in the Night of the Living Dead film, the Walking Dead comic or TV series, the Last of Us video game?
  • Real-world ‘horror’ (climate themes, pandemic themes)
  • How have modern horror video games tackled their subjects compared to older iterations in the same or similar series?
  • Topics that explore how horror conventions change across media modes
  • The true crime phenomenon – the rise in popularity of true crime media and its influence on the broader cultural consciousness
  • Exploring the aesthetic differences in presentations of horror across different media modes
  • Compare the evolution of horror in different national contexts
  • Address the lineage of horror in relation to its Gothic origins to a contemporary understanding of the genres

We are seeking articles of 5000-7000 words for publication in the next issue of Scaffold: the Journal for the Institute of Comparative Studies of Literature, Art, and Culture, an open-access graduate student journal. Articles will be double-blind, peer-reviewed, and published digitally through OJS. More information can be found here: https://ojs.library.carleton.ca/index.php/J-ICSLAC/index

Please email proposals of approximately 300-500 words to scaffoldjournal@gmail.com, including a brief author bio, by April 29th 2024. Accepted authors will be informed by early May, with full articles due for review by August 5th 2024.

For those interested in submitting, here is the information: https://ojs.library.carleton.ca/index.php/J-ICSLAC/announcement/view/57

If you are interested in contributing as a peer reviewer, please follow this link: https://ojs.library.carleton.ca/index.php/J-ICSLAC/announcement/view/48

 

CALL FOR PAPERS
SYNOPTIQUE ISSUE 11.1
“TEACHING MEDIA ARCHIVES”

Synoptique is inviting submissions for a special issue entitled “Teaching Media Archives.” This special issue will explore strategies to activate student interest in archives and media preservation, bridging a gap between film and media education and the archival profession. These strategies may be those that teachers and archivists have implemented or merely envisioned, and can encompass curricular or extracurricular courses, programs, initiatives, or activities. We welcome academic articles as well as annotated syllabi, informal reflections on teaching, interviews, roundtable discussions, and more.

The proliferation of dozens of streaming sites has made all of film history seem easily within reach. Further, digitized access to archival materials through projects like the Media History Digital Library means students can undertake archival research without ever setting foot into a physical archive or speaking to an archivist. In context with these changes, how can the behind-the-scenes work of media preservation be made more visible? How can we raise awareness of the practices and politics that determine which media artifacts are preserved and made available and which are not—whose histories are documented and whose are forgotten? How are instructors responding to these needs and collaborating with archivists to bring students into the archive, and the archive into the classroom?

While there has been significant interest in archival education as of late—evidenced not least by a recent special issue of Synoptique on the institutionalization of media archival graduate programs—less attention has been paid to the practical realities of pedagogy and instruction. What actually happens in the classroom? How do you “teach media archives”? We want to address this gap by devoting this special issue to exploring how we might envision media archival education today, sometimes with limited or no access to physical archives, and always balancing hands-on learning and practice with theory and history.

We invite scholars of all levels and disciplines who engage with media archives (defined broadly) and pedagogy (defined broadly) to contribute traditional peer-reviewed articles as well as alternative formats–including creative work, personal reflections, thought pieces, interviews, roundtable discussions or debates, annotated syllabi or assignments, and more. Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • working with archival media as primary research documents, as creative source material, and as heritage artifacts
  • the materiality of media and technological obsolescence
  • the politics of the “canon”
  • community archiving and counter-archives
  • debates about naming—who gets to call themselves archives or archivists?
  • media-archival education and social justice
  • interventions into archival theory and/or practice
  • student-led preservation and/or programming initiatives
  • the preservation of student films
  • internships, fellowships, assistantships, etc.
  • pursuing the archival profession without access to archives, preservation, or conservation classes
  • the personal DVD or home media collection as archive and the role of physical media in pedagogy
  • archival education at the intersection of film and media studies, art history, archaeology, library and information science, museum studies, and more
  • the value of an MLIS or other professional degree
  • the impact and effects of COVID-19 on media archives’ past, present, and future
  • making archival instruction—and the archival profession—accessible and inclusive to students from historically underrepresented groups, whether based on class, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, sexuality, or other socioeconomic factors

Reviews of relevant recent books, films, conferences, or other events are also welcome. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding your submission ideas.

Essays submitted for peer review should be approximately 5,500-7,500 words. Submissions for the non-reviewed section should be approximately 1,500-3,500 words. Reviews should be approximately 2,000 words. All submissions must conform to Chicago author-date style (17th ed.). Video essays submitted for peer review are also accepted. All images must be accompanied by photo credits and captions.

Creative works and interventions in the form of digital video, still imagery, or other multimedia forms will be hosted or embedded on the Synoptique website, and/or otherwise linked to in the PDF version of the journal.

Submissions may be written in either French or English.

Please submit completed essays or works to the journal editors (editor@synoptique.ca) and copy the issue guest editors, Hugo Ljungbäck (hugo@ljungback.se) and Christian Balistreri (christianbalistreri14@gmail.com), by March 15, 2024. We will send notifications of acceptance by April 15, 2024.

 

CFP: Michelle Yeoh: Everything and Everywhere on Global Screens

Edited by: Lisa Funnell, Wayne King Tung Wong, and Dorothy Wai Sim Lau

Michelle Yeoh is a global popular culture icon whose career spans eras, genres, mediums, and entertainment/media systems. From her rise to transnational stardom performing her own stunts the golden era of Hong Kong action cinema to her crossover projects in well-known Hollywood/American blockbusters, Michelle Yeoh’s career has been defined by passion, hard work, and resilience as she has navigated the many barriers – social, political, cultural, financial – that have historically delimited Asian women on international screens. Her perseverance, craft, and expanding star power led to her casting in Everything, Everywhere, All at Once (2022) and she made history as the first Asian woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the film. As she enters into her early 60s, she is seeing no shortage of roles and opportunities, and she continues to headline these projects while opening doors for other Asian women to follow in her footsteps.

In light of her extensive and expansive career that spans over 60 films and television shows, this anthology offers the first comprehensive and critical consideration of her entire body of work – exploring both popular and lesser known performances. We are looking for papers on a range of topics including but not limited to:

  • Hong Kong eras – girls with guns, action films, comedies, dramas
  • Transnational Co-productions
  • Crossover films – Bond films, Hollywood/British blockbusters
  • Mythical Films production company
  • Asian American film and performance
  • Marvel
  • US television – Star Trek Discovery, The Brothers Sun
  • animation and video game performances
  • identity and performance
  • transnational stardom and reception
  • barriers – race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, etc.

Please submit a 250 word abstract along with a CV to lisa.m.funnell@gmail.com by March 15, 2024. Please direct any questions or inquiries to this email as well.

 

The dates for this conference have been moved to March 21-22, 2024, in order to double-up with this year’s Crossing Borders, a multi-disciplinary student conference.

As a result, the CFP for the Two Days of Canada conference is being circulated once again, with a new deadline for proposals: February 2, 2024.

Call for papers – By February 2, 2024.
Liminal spaces: Two Days of Rural Canada
Seeing Canada though a rural lens; the places in‐between

When considering Canada, most people think of Canadian cities or the wonder of its vast wilderness. We often overlook, sometimes literally, rural Canada, those spaces in‐between. We fly over them and drive through them, but don’t often stop to consider what the people and the places contribute to Canada as a nation. While most of Canada’s landmass is rural, more than 80% of its population is urban, leading to this significant social disconnect.

This conference will consider the world between the cities and the wilderness, those liminal spaces, and the people, culture, politics, and issues of concern within them. We invite scholars from a range of disciplines who are examining life in rural Canada. Topics can include but need not be restricted to the following themes:

  • Immigration in rural Canada
  • Indigenous communities in rural Canada
  • Canada’s rural politics
  • Socializing in rural Canada
  • Health care in rural Canada
  • History of rural spaces in Canada
  • Rural‐urban tensions

We invite individual papers or panel proposals.

For an individual paper proposal, please submit an abstract of your presentation (maximum 250 words) and a one‐page CV identifying institutional affiliation and key scholarly contributions.

For a panel proposal, please provide a brief abstract for each presentation (max 250 words each) and a brief overview of the theme of the panel (max 250 words) along with short biographies of each presenter (also max 250 words). We expect all sessions to be maximum 90 minutes regardless of the number of presenters in a proposed panel.

We welcome and encourage students, so do not be deterred if your CV is yet to be filled with the remarkable contributions you will someday make.

Please send all proposals and inquiries to Dan Malleck, Director, Centre for Canadian Studies through the Centre’s email address: CanadianStudies@brocku.ca by February 2, 2024.

 

Call for Papers: Reorienting the Sublime

McGill University
Department of Art History and Communication Studies
Graduate Student Symposium

Deadline for Submissions: December 29, 2023

“The sublime is something added that expands us, overstrains us, and causes us to be both here, as dejects, and there, as others and sparkling. A divergence, an impossible bounding. Everything missed, joy—fascination” — Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror.

The Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University is pleased to invite submissions for the Annual Graduate Symposium “Reorienting the Sublime,” to be held on Thursday, April 4 and Friday, April 5, 2024.

The sublime has held a steady yet complex position within the discourse of art history and visual culture, and encourages a consideration of its relationship to media and communication studies. Its perhaps best known form can be traced to Edmund Burke in the 18th century, who defined the sublime through a dual emotional quality of attraction and fear, which Immanuel Kant honed to describe a magnitude of unlimited feeling that humans are unable to possess. Jacques Lacan, who follows from a Freudian notion of the sublime as a positivised or aestheticised counterpart to the uncanny, also suggests that the “sublime object” points us towards that which has the power to de-realise and dematerialize, revealing the contradictions at the center of a law.

As such, the sublime has provided a rife affective terrain for artists to draw from that could elicit awe, power, and a certain delight in transgressing limitation. It has also offered a useful framework to think through the meanings and affects circulating new communication technologies, which are often simultaneously feared and viewed as opportunities for human transcendence. At the same time, the sublime has provided the means to bolster colonial understandings of “taming the unknown” and efforts to seek command of that which appears to be out of order. What can be said of the sublime as revelatory, a call to re-translate or re-visit the foundational systems of meaning which structure the world and our place in it? How might we position the sublime in relation to contemporary politics, culture, and technologies? In what ways do awe, terror, beauty, and overwhelm play into our current objects of research, and how might these aspects of sublimity reorient the objects and approaches within our fields of study?

Following this history of contestation, our symposium seeks to consider the state of the sublime today and how its discourse continues to take shape within the interdisciplinary realms of art history and communication studies. We invite papers from all periods of art history, communication studies, and related disciplines to consider these questions, as well as the following topics as prompts for further thought:

  • Beyond the worldly, transcendence, (dis)embodiment
  • Affect, desire, aversion, horror, tragedy
  • Consumption, glut, excess, control
  • Technological sublime
  • Hyperreality, capitalist/cyber/digital sublime
  • Landscape painting, romanticism, colonial origins and post-colonial critiques
  • Gestalt, Gesamtkunstwerk
  • Historical reconfigurations of Kant, Burke, Hegel, Lacan, etc.
  • Incomprehensibility, inspiration, confusion
  • The non-human, anthropocene, pre-linguistic
  • (Against) the uncanny, the beautiful, the harmonious

The Art History and Communication Studies Graduate Symposium committee invites proposals for fifteen-minute-long paper presentations. Current and recently graduated Masters, Doctoral, and Postdoctoral students from various Humanities fields whose research addresses this year’s theme are encouraged to apply. Applicants should submit an abstract of no more than 300 words with the title of the paper, along with a separate document that includes a 250-word bio, to ahcs.pgss@mail.mcgill.ca by Friday, December 29, 2023. Please include your full name, affiliation, and contact information in your bio. A blind panel will be reviewing all submissions, so please ensure that your name and other identifying marks do not appear in the abstract document.

While we encourage in-person participation at the symposium, we will have limited spots for presentations over Zoom. If you would like to be considered for a virtual presentation, please indicate so in your abstract, in addition to any other accommodations or considerations you would like the committee to know of.

Sincerely,
Sofia Di Gironimo, Marcus Prasad (Co-Chairs), and the AHCS Graduate Symposium Committee
McGill University | Montreal, Quebec